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I love to cook with fresh garlic, but I never used it often enough so my garlic would spoil before I could use it up. The cloves would sprout and/or dry up in the cupboard, even when I used those pottery pieces designed to store garlic. Or they would go moldy and/or sprout in the fridge in a plastic bag or a container.
One day I wrapped my garlic (unpeeled bulbs and/or cloves) in a DRY dishcloth (tight weave, not a crocheted one) and stuck it in the fridge. I was hoping that the cloth would absorb any excess moisture while still keeping the garlic from being exposed to the light and the air. It worked great! This makes my garlic last forever without sprouting, drying out, or going moldy. I just keep it in the dry cloth, in the door of my fridge and use a clove when I need to. I was surprised how long the garlic lasts. I haven't had to throw away any garlic since I started doing this.
By Oberhund from Regina, SK
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How do you store garlic?
Bill from Orlando
My supermarket had trays in the produce section yesterday with about 50 peeled garlic cloves for $1.25 . I bought one and now I don't know what to do to keep them. Any suggestions?
I have a pottery garlic keeper. It has a lid but then on one side it has some air holes. Garlic stays fresh in there a long time; however eventually if not used, it will totally dry out. I find buying just 1-2 fresh garlic bulbs at a time is more than sufficient for my family. I have seen the garlic in the jar that looks like a good idea....you keep in the frig and just spoon out how much you need. i've even seen Rachel Ray on foodnetwork using it!
For peeled garlic, I would say you would have to cook it pretty quick. with the peel off it will lose moisture rather quickly. If It still has the skin on you can store it at room temperature just about anywhere. They sell earthen garlic pots (liek the one below) for storing garlic in and they help keep it fresh longer.
I peel the garlic and put the cloves (separated) in a jar and cover with oil. (Olive oil if I have it) As I use the cloves I top the jar up with oil - this serves two purposes - a ready supply of "fresh" garlic and garlic oil for use as required. Marinades, dressings, basting, etc.
Editor's Notes: We've had posts about this being dangerous. You can grow botulism in your oil. It would probably be fine for a day or two, refrigerated but longer than that you risk food poisoning.
Plant a few cloves outside. If all else fails, at least you'll have some to use later.
Out of curiosity, has anyone tried to use their food saver to prolong the storage life (seal and refrigerate) of garlic? I just thought of it and wondered if it might work...
Is it safe to keep garlic cloves in olive oil, if refrigerated?
By regor4 from 3rd Rock, AL
Is is UNsafe to do so as it is a breeding ground for botulism which can not be seen or tasted so you wouldn't know until it was too late. Best to stick with commercial preparations if you go that route and follow the storage instructions on their bottle.
(half way down page= "Storing Garlic in Oil - Warning! - Not Safe."
Yes, this is safe, but for no more than 2 weeks. I've read & seen on TV that it's easier to get food poisoning than most people think from using herbal oils that have either not been refrigerated or are kept too long. The warnings about botulism food poisoning from this are all over the web.
The flavored Vinegar's are much safer & keep longer.
Here's some great information:
Better safe than sorry!
Botulism is not like the other food poisoning most of us have had at some time in our lives (with the diarrhea, stomach cramps & vomiting). Symptoms of botulism include facial paralysis, drooping eyelids, double or blurred vision, dry mouth, change in voice, and difficulty swallowing. With a sufficient dose of toxin, symptoms may progress rapidly and descending paralysis may result in respiratory failure. But, thankfully, there is an anti-toxin available!
In the old days, people would get botulism from corn that was not canned correctly. Before mainstream canning, they used to recommend you heat your canned food (especially corn) to a boil for a certain length of time.
* Interestingly, in recent years they have linked some cases of crib death to infants under the age of one being given HONEY... This does not affect children & adults who can easily digest these minute amounts of botulism, but babies can get tiny amounts of botulism from honey which can grow & build up in a baby's body & possibly cause crib death.
Food Botulism information:
I roast my garlic and then put them in a glass jar in the fridge. I have kept them for about 3 months and they are fine.
Roasting Garlic - cut the top of the whole garlic off so all the cloves are just exposed. Place on foil. Drizzle olive oil on top of garlic so all cloves get a little. Wrap garlic tight in foil but don't break foil. Roast at 375 degrees F. for about 40 minutes; make sure a small knife goes in very easily. Cool until easily handled. At this point I squeeze the cloves into a glass jar to keep them in the fridge.
According to the FDA, botulism IS a possibility. Here is an excerpt from the county extension office, El Paso County, Colorado:
Garlic in oil. For added safety, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires that all commercial garlic in oil products contain specific levels of microbial inhibitors or acidifying agents such as phosphoric or citric acid. Although most garlic products do contain these additives, some boutique or specialty mixes may not. Always check the label to be sure.
As for home-prepared mixtures of garlic in oil, the FDA recommends that these "be made fresh for use and not left around at room temperatures." Refrigerate left-overs for use within 10 days, freeze or discard.
Can I store fresh garlic in a brown paper sack somewhere other than the refrigerator, such as a cellar?
Bob from Hot Springs, AR
You shouldn't store garlic in the fridge at all - a kitchen countertop works fine.
If you are looking for longer shelf life, you could find a dark place for them, but if your basement is at all damp, I'd avoid it - moisture makes garlic grow mold and shortens the life. Above all, don't store them near potatoes or onions - their moisture is bad for the garlic.
If you have oodles of garlic (I think oodles is four 'bulbs' or more), mince when 'fresh' really well and store immediately in a 'small' glass jar in the fridge (I store mine on the door in the fridge). It will last for a few months that way! I prefer mincing a bunch up all at the same time cause then it's conveniently ready for day to day cooking :-) It does not lose it's flavor doing this and no chances that your cloves in the bag have dried up if you don't use garlic often ;-)
I clean all my garlic - put it in a jar with cold water. This has lasted for a full year. I have maybe 4 or 5 cloves in cold water from last fall. I store it in my fridge.